Goethe on Fathers

The Autobiography of Goethe: truth and poetry, from my own life

It is a pious wish of all fathers to see what they have themselves failed to attain, realized in their sons, as if in this way they could live their lives over again, and, at last, make a proper use of their early experience. Conscious of his acquirements, with the certainty of faithful perseverance, and distrusting the teachers of the day, my father undertook to instruct his own children, allowing them to take particular lesson from particular masters only so far as seemed absolutely necessary. A pedagogical dilettantism was already beginning to show itself everywhere. The pedantry and heaviness of 
the masters appointed in the public schools had probably given rise to this evil. Something better was sought for, but it was forgotten how defective all instruction must be, which is not given by persons who are teachers by profession. 

My father had prospered in his own career tolerably according to his wishes : I was to follow the same course, only more easily, and much farther. He prized my natural endowments the more, because he was himself wanting in them; for he had acquired everything only by means of unspeakable diligence, pertinacity, and repetition. He often assured me, early and late, both in jest and earnest, that with my talents he would have deported himself very differently, and would not have turned them to such small account.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s